Smart Investing:Reducing Risk While Seeking Reward Charles Rotblut, CFA Vice President & AAII Journal Editor American Association of Individual Investors
Key Concepts • Behavioral Errors Are Costly • Get the Basics Right • Investing Is Messy • Smart Investors Create Their Own Luck
When it comes to investing, emotions are not your friends.
Not Easy to Beat the Market *2011 return data from S&P Dow Jones Indices, Morningstar, and Dalbar
Limiting Behavioral Errors • Understand that tomorrow’s market conditions may be different than today’s • Buy fear and sell greed (even though you will be tempted to do the opposite) • Realize that overconfidence has led many people to trail the market’s performance
Limiting Behavioral Errors • Don’t invest in a security or a fund that keeps you up at night • But realize that if you want to beat inflation, you have to accept some volatility and down markets • If you are scared by the markets, admit it, take a deep breath and wait a day before making changes to your portfolio
Psychologists say people make more rational decisions when they are not in a crisis situation. So, have a plan for selling before you buy a stock, bond or fund.
My Favorite Investing Tool (It’s a spiral notebook)
What I Write Down • The reasons why I bought an investment • The reasons why I would sell an investment • Updated news and fundamental data about the investments I own and monitor • Research notes about what I’ve looked at
Write down everything that matters to your portfolio, rather than keeping it in your head. It’s more important to remember birthdays and anniversaries than the details of your portfolio.
Add reminders to your calendar to look at your portfolio and review it.
Determine Your Goals Need cash soon for a big expense? Want to build long-term wealth? Need portfolio income now and for the next 10 – 30 years? Have a mixture of goals?
Tolerance for Risk Depends On: Age Health Wealth (Longer investment horizons and greater wealth increase the ability to handle risk.)
AAII Allocation Models Source: http://www.aaii.com/asset-allocation
Diversification Helped Harry Markowitz win a Nobel Prize. There is always an optimum level of risk and reward. Risk is lowered and return is increased when several different investments are combined. Another benefit is that some part of the portfolio will be in favor at any given time.
Large-Cap Stock Correlations Small-Cap Stocks: 0.72 Long-Term Corporate Bonds: 0.29 Long-Term Government Bonds: 0.06 Treasury Bills: 0.11 *Correlation data for period of 1972-2011, Ibbotson SBBI 2012 Classic Yearbook
To Diversify Further, Consider… Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) Micro-Cap Stocks (Shadow Stock Portfolio) Preferred Stocks Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) High-Yield Bonds (Junk Bonds) Gold *”The Alternative Portfolio: Diversifying Away From a Traditional Allocation,” AAII Journal, June 2012
Diversify Across All of Your Accounts All your investments contribute to your overall wealth This includes your brokerage account, your 401(k) plan and employee stock options Also includes your house and savings accounts Manage all of your assets as a single portfolio
Diversify, Then Rebalance Rebalancing prevents allocation drift, maintaining diversification benefits Gives you a strategy for volatile markets Forces you to buy low and sell high Vanguard suggests annual or semiannual rebalancing when allocations are off target by 5% or more* *“Best Practices for Portfolio Rebalancing,” AAII Journal, May 2011
Rebalancing and Withdrawals $100k portfolio based on AAII’s moderate allocation model 4% annual withdrawals were assumed 5% threshold used for rebalancing Performance calculated from 1988 – 2011 Vanguard index funds used to avoid impact of active management
Rebalancing and Withdrawals Rebalancing produced a higher ending balance than not rebalancing ($304,712 vs. $300,709) Total withdrawals were slightly lower with rebalancing ($3,525 difference over 24 years) Volatility was reduced by nearly 11% The rebalanced portfolio lost 18% less in 2008 than the non-rebalanced portfolio *”Portfolio Rebalancing: Diversification, Risk Control and Withdrawals,” AAII Journal, March 2012
Rebalancing Is a Long-Term Strategy Rebalancing and diversification provide the most benefits over the long term Will cause a portfolio to underperform during bull markets for its largest asset class (e.g., stocks)—a compromise for reduced volatility Losses will be smaller during bear markets, but they will not be avoided
Buying High and Selling Low *2012 Investment Company Fact Book, Investment Company Institute
Rebalancing Is Better Than Panicking Many investors panic during a bear market, sell stocks and lock in losses The same investors wait too long to get back into stocks, missing out on big gains Relative to panicking and selling stocks, rebalancing results in higher returns
Rebalancing Alternatives Correctly time the market on a consistent basis over the long term Ignore the market’s volatility, especially during bear markets
What you put into your portfolio also determines how much luck you create.
The first decision in security selection is not determining what to buy, but choosing whether to use an active or a passive strategy.
Active Investing Handpick the portfolio’s securities Provides the opportunity to outperform the major indexes Alternatively, you could create a portfolio with less risk and volatility Gives you more control over the portfolio It does require more time and effort
Passive Investing Mimic the characteristics of an index Eliminates the risk of picking the wrong securities Diversification is provided by the sheer number of securities that make up an index Transaction and tax costs are lower Your returns will closely follow the market’s performance and volatility
How Do You Choose? Do you have the time and inclination to research individual securities and funds? How good have your previous stock and bond picks been relative to the broad market? If you consider yourself a market timer, how many times did you buy at market bottoms and sell at market tops?
Choose Both Passive and Active Choosing both allows you to take advantage of each strategy’s strengths Active management gives you the opportunity to beat the market Passive management ensures that, no matter what, part of your portfolio will always track the market’s performance
Index funds (passive investments) should be your default option when you can’t find an attractive stock, bond or fund to buy.
Stocks: Key Traits to Look For Strong Business Model–products fulfill needs, barriers to entry exist and the company is profitable Good Financials–positive cash flow, adequate cash, low debt, rising sales and profits Attractive Valuation–both price-to-book (P/B) and price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios are reasonable
Dividends Boost Returns *OppenheimerFunds and Ned Davis Research; data for period of February 1972 through December 2011
Don’t Go By Yield Alone * James O’Shaughnessy, “What Works on Wall Street,” Fourth Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2011)
Momentum Helps Too Stocks with 26-week relative strength rankings of 60% or higher tend to outperform Combine momentum with valuation measures such as the price-earnings ratio Momentum strategies have more turnover, and therefore are more costly *James O’Shaughnessy, “What Works on Wall Street”, Fourth Edition” (McGraw-Hill, 2011); Richard Tortoriello, “Quantitative Strategies for Achieving Alpha” (McGraw-Hill, 2008)
Stocks: What to Watch Weekly: News, valuation, earnings estimates and relative strength Quarterly: Earnings release, conference call transcript, 10-Q Annually: 10-K, CEO’s letter to shareholders, proxy statement
Stocks: When to Sell The reason you bought the stock no longer applies (Follow your sell rules) The valuation becomes excessive Business conditions, the fundamentals or the outlook deteriorates The dividend is cut or suspended You need to rebalance
Bonds: Key Traits to Look For Fiscally Sound–generates enough cash to cover interest payments and repay debt Valuation–price is not excessively above par value Yield–high yields are a sign of higher risk
All Bonds Are Not the Same *Fidelity Viewpoints, “The Risks of Chasing Yield,” August 22, 2012
Corporate Bonds: What to Watch Weekly: News Quarterly: 10-Q for corporate bonds, credit ratings changes Semiannually: Interest payments Annually: 10-K